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"1 inch piece of ginger root" - What does it mean?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
A recipe I have calls for "1 inch piece of ginger root"

It's for vegetable cakes with rutabaga and carrots with cheese.

It seems pretty simple, except for the use of the ginger root.

All it says is to combine it with the egg/bread crumb mixture.

am I missing something? Last time, I used too much and it turned out way too strong with ginger.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks as usual.

Nick
post #2 of 7
Ginger is typically sold by the "hand", that is a main piece with several "fingers" coming off it. I guess a 1" piece, would be an inch cut off one of the fingers. Is that all it says? Are you supposed to just crush it, grate it, or leave it whole? I'm not a big fan of fresh ginger, so for me and entire inch of grated ginger would be too strong. If you suspect this might be too much for you as well, then cut back on the amount. You can always add more in, but once the flavor is in there, well...you're just stuck with it.
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post #3 of 7
A recipe calling for an inch usually means an inch taken off the main root, or the equivilent in smaller pieces.

On average, 1-inch of root equals about a tablespoon of grated ginger. But you have to experiment a bit, because a micro-plane does such a finer job that you'd need 2-3 inches of root for a tablespoon, which would then be far too much ginger.

Ginger is a great pairing with carrots and rutabaga. But didn't your recipe tell you to process the inch of root further? Chop it, or mince it, or cut it into jullienne strips?
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post #4 of 7
Put it in a food processor or blender and chop or puree it then add to the mix.
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post #5 of 7
A "1" piece" is a sort of shorthand, because ginger root does vary in size.

Contrary to what's already on this thread, the 1" piece comes from a finger, not the big part of the ginger. Ideally, you cut off a finger, and block it -- cutting a rectangular section which also removes the skin (called "blocking), then cut that about 1" long. You could, of course, cut a piece from the "palm" of the ginger "hand," about the same size. As has been written, it should net you about a tbs of grated or very finely chopped ginger.

Contrary to what's already on this thread, a ginger grater, which is really a bunch of small bumps, cuts even finer than a microplane, and essentially liquifies the ginger.

If you don't grate, but cut the blocked ginger into thin slices ("planking") as you would do before making julienne or brunoise, you can crush the slices with the flat of a knife. Then chop very fine and you'll produce about the same result as you would with a ginger grater. FWIW, that's how I do it.

Some gingers are very hot, others, like "baby ginger" are more mild and sweet. Ginger dries out and loses potency fairly quickly. Some people like ginger more than others. In other words, you have to use some degree of judgment with choosing the amount you like.

BDL
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post #6 of 7
I agree that a ginger grater does a finer job than microplane, but I can't agree with your description of the result. If you grate ginger this way, you get two different things: very finely grated ginger and ginger juice. In some cases you want one or the other, sometimes both.

For this recipe, given that the ginger is supposed to be mixed with some kind of crumb mixture, I'd say that you want the ginger as finely ground as possible, with minimal fibers.

Suggestions:

1. If you like ginger a lot, peel and mince the ginger very fine with a knife.

2. If you aren't sure you like so much ginger, grate an inch -- don't bother peeling it first -- with the grater set over a smallish bowl. Squeeze all the grated stuff very hard between your fingers to get all the juice into the bowl. Use the juice only.

3. Peel and microplane the ginger to get a result somewhere in between.

I would recommend against a processor for this small an amount. You'll end up spending an awful lot of time scraping stuff back down into the bowl, and it won't do a great job anyway.

Note that it is unnecessary to peel ginger: just cut off the hard, horny bits where the root was broken or cut and healed itself over. Scrub the peel, and then use like anything else. If the ginger is fresh, the peel will be perfectly edible. If the ginger is getting a bit old and woody, with a dry peel, remove it: all the flavor will have gone. It's only important to peel fresh ginger if you are going to julienne it very fine as a garnish and want it to be beautiful.

As far as picking your ginger, you want something that looks like a tan root. Don't spend extra on young ginger with the little pink-white stalks; try that if you decide you love the dish and want to experiment. Look the tan root all over carefully before you buy: it should be firm, almost rock-hard, with a generally unblemished skin. Some blemishes are reasonable near the tips and where the root has clearly been broken apart, but it should not have a gnarly sort of wood-bark surface. This sort of skin and a distinctly yielding skin are generally signs of old or badly-stored ginger.

Cut ginger stores very well, treated appropriately. Drop the ginger in an unwaxed paper lunchbag. Wrap up, then put the bag in a plastic bag and twist-tie the neck. Place in the refrigerator. Check every now and again, but ginger stored this way should keep for a month or more.
post #7 of 7
New season ginger will grate very well - you can tell it by the smooth skin and the slightly pinkish & greenish tinge to the root. Older ginger, the skin looks tan and is starting to be flaky. No need to peel the very fresh stuff, but for the older ginger just scrape the skin off with a teaspoon, fo minimal wastage.

If you're finding it difficult to control the amount of ginger you are putting in, you could try using dried ground ginger, although it gives a much more peppery flavour and is really no substitue for raw ginger.

I love the stuff :) I'll use it anyway I can get it.

Just experiment till you know how much you like. The new season ginger is much stronger than when it's out of season.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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